God taught me so many lessons during a recent trip to visit mission works in Nicaragua. Nicaragua is a tropical climate and doesn’t get very cold any time during the year. I learned that many of the churches do not even have walls, they were constructed with just a good roof and solid floor. I had the privilege of preaching in one of those churches in the capital city of Managua. As I was waiting to speak I could hear the traffic and other noises of the city outside the church. Since there were no walls I could also feel the temperature of the heat of the day. The pleasant aroma of some local family selling food on the street cooked in their own kitchen wafted into the wall-less church. Pigeons also joined the congregation that Sunday to praise the Lord. Distractions didn’t seem to bother those assembled on that morning.
A church without walls. What a concept. I believe we should think of the church of Jesus Christ as being a church without walls. Sometimes we get so focused on what is going on within the 4 walls of our own church that we have no knowledge or concern with what is going on in our community around us. Do we feel the burdens, do we hear the voices, and do we know the struggles of the people living just outside our walls? The early church in the book of Acts enjoyed wonderful fellowship within the body. But they also made a powerful impact upon those outside their walls. They shared the gospel everywhere they went: in the public squares, in the marketplaces, in homes, and even in prisons. The Bible tells us about the impact of the church in those early years. The church without walls is said to have “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).
How can we be the church without walls today? We can go out of our way to make sure everyone is welcome into our assembly. We can look for ways to be a refuge for those who are struggling with the hardships of life. God help us to be the church without walls.
Pastor Stultz has been writing this weekly devotional for many years. In 2009, he published a compilation of devotionals in book form, also called Moments of Meditation